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Frequently asked questions about renting a property

This page of FAQs should answer some of the more frequently asked questions we hear from tenants. From how we manage your deposit, to reporting maintenance and sending paperwork, the information here will help you understand the process of renting student accommodation with purple frog.

Do you charge an admin fee?

In 2019, the government banned letting agents and landlords from charging tenants for setting up tenancies. As a law-abiding company, we do not charge tenants a fee for finding a property and setting up your contract.

The tenant fee ban does allow agents and landlords to charge tenants for certain things. We are still entitled to charge for changing a tenancy or to cover the costs of tenants breaching the terms of their contracts.  You can find information on all of our fees and charges on our website.

What is a retainer?

A non-refundable retainer is paid when you wish to take a property, when you move into the property it becomes the deposit and will be protected through one of the government authorised deposit schemes.

Where is my deposits/retainer protected?

When you sign your contract you will pay your ‘non refundable retainer’; this is held by the landlord or his agent until you move into the property when it becomes your ‘deposit’.

Once the funds become a deposit your landlord has 28 days in which to protect it with a government authorised scheme and provide the details to you. Your landlord is not obliged to tell you which scheme they will use until that time; the scheme fees paid by the landlord fluctuate so landlords’ will use the most appropriate of the three schemes at that time.

Our deposits team has also written a blog that answers common questions students ask about deposits.

What happens if I want to drop out?

Once you have signed your tenancy agreement you are bound to it for the full term. If you don’t want to live in the property any more you will still have to pay rent until you find someone to take over your liabilities. This is called a Novation.

There is an admin charge for us to organise your Novation. If you signed your tenancy agreement before Monday 20th May 2019, the charge is £150. If you signed your tenancy agreement on or after Monday 20th May 2019, the charge is £50. If you would like us to advertise your room, there will be an additional charge of 50% of on month's rent, at minimum £250.

We have a whole page that explains Novation agreements and how to transfer your responsibilities to another person.

Will I get my deposit back?

At the end of your tenancy we ask you to leave the property clean and tidy. We'll also ask you to provide us with proof that you've paid all of your utilities (gas, electricity, water) and that you've dealt with the council tax at the property. (So make sure you hold on to all your bills!)

Your tenancy agreement explains in detail why you may have charges deducted from your deposits. However, the main reasons tenants are charged are:

  • Not paying rent on time - you will accrue interest charges on any outstanding amounts.
  • Using Blu-Tack or similar on walls - if we have to re-paint a wall, the charge is normally £40 per wall.
  • Not cleaning the property well enough at the end of the tenancy.

There's advice on simple things you can do to ensure you can keep as much of your deposit as possible.

We can help you to keep as much of your deposit as possible if you arrange a pre-inspection with our team. This will help you spot where charges might be deducted, so  you can put them right before the end of your tenancy. Deposits are normally returned within 28 days of the end of your tenancy, provided all rent is paid and you've provided us with proof that your utilities and council tax have been dealt with.

You'll also find loads of information about deposits on our dedicated deposits FAQ page.

What do we do about bills?

The majority of our properties are available with bills already included in the rent. This means that you pay one sum and it'll cover your rent and utilities. That makes it easy to manage your money and know that everyone's paying their fare share. If you need to set up bills for yourself, you will find a whole section covering this, here.

How do I collect my keys?

For a lot of our properties you'll be asked to collect your keys from our office after midday on the 1st day of your tenancy. You can pick your keys up at any point after that date during our office hours. Remember, everyone in your house will need to have completed all of their paperwork first, paid their rent and you'll need to bring your ID with you so we know we're giving the right keys to the right people!

For some properties your landlord will provide keys directly to you. We'll email you a month before your move in date to confirm where you should collect your keys. There's more information on the moving in page.

How do I pay my rent?

For properties which Purple Frog manage, we'll be asking you to set up direct debits to pay your rent which will either be monthly in advance or quarterly. We'll email you with a link to a website where you'll need to enter your bank details to set up the direct debit. You can forward this link to your parents if they will be paying your rent for you. You'll need to make sure that you've got enough money in your account each month for the direct debit to work, if there's not you may be charged a late payment fee by us and your bank.

For properties which aren't managed by Purple Frog you'll need to pay your rent directly to your landlord, the bank details you'll need and your reference will be printed on the front of your tenancy agreement. You'll need to prove you've set up your standing order before your landlord will let you have your keys.

How does weekly rent convert into monthly rent?

There aren't exactly 4 weeks in a month so we calculate monthly rent in the following way: divide your weekly rent by seven (number of days in the week), then multiply by 365 (number of days in the year); finally multiple this by twelve (the number of months in the year).

The equation is: (weekly rent / 7) x 365 / 12 = monthly rent.

Please note that for leap years you need to adjust the equation to 366 to take the extra day into account.

What does it mean to pay rent quarterly?

Often landlords will ask that you pay your rent quarterly, this means, once per quarter of the year meaning you will pay 4 larger payments during the year rather than 12 monthly payments.  If your contract starts on the 1st July your payment dates will be 1st July, 1st October, 1st January and 1st April. The payments due on each of these dates will be equivalent to 3 months' rent.

What if something goes wrong in the house?

If we manage your property you will need to let us know about any maintenance issues, we have a team of trusted tradesmen and contractors who will resolve any issues you may have. There's a dedicated maintenance section on the website, where you can report a maintenance issue and find out more information.

What is a joint and several contract?

Most tenancy agreements (especially student ones) are joint and several which basically means you sign the agreement as a group and are all responsible jointly for the liabilities explained in the contract. For example; if there is damage to the property the landlord can hold you all liable; the landlord is also able to hold any one of you as being liable for the damage. It also means that if the landlord is required to give you notice of anything they are only legally required to inform one of you.

What are my guarantor's liabilities?

Although your obligations are joint and several; your guarantor's are not. this means that the landlord can only ask your guarantor for a particular share of any joint liability. For example if it is a 4 bedroom house; your guarantor can only be asked for ¼ of the total rent due if you haven’t paid or ¼ of any damage not covered by the deposit. You can find more information about the information we require from guarantors on our Guarantor FAQ page.

What if I don't have a UK guarantor?

While our standard process is to ask tenants to provide a UK-based guarantor, who passes a credit check, we know that sometimes this may not be possible. For instance, if you are an International student.

There are two options available if you don't have a UK guarantor: you can pay your rent upfront, or apply to the company Housing Hand to act as your guarantor.

Housing Hand charges a one-off fee of £299 for this service, which will mean that they act as your UK guarantor for 12 months - the usual length of your tenancy. The fee is exclusive to Purple Frog, so make sure you mention us to pay this fee. For more information, see their website: www.housinghand.co.uk.

What is a HMO Licence?

If more than two unrelated people rent in the same house the property is classified as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO). If the property has five or more bedrooms and is on three or more floors it has to be licensed with the local Council and has to meet certain safety requirements. The HMO certificate should be on display in the property but if you want confirmation that the property is registered you should call your local Council.

What about gas certificates?

Your landlord is responsible for making sure the gas appliances at your property are safe and is required to have them inspected by a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer every 12 months. We will make a copy available to you when you move in and again when it is renewed.

What happens if someone doesn't pay their rent?

You are all jointly liable for rent payments so if someone doesn't pay their rent the landlord is able to pursue all of you for any rent due. It is normal practice however that a landlord would pursue the individual tenant first and then their guarantor before approaching the other tenants.

When will we receive the inventory?

It is normal practice for your inventory to be supplied to you within the first 14 days of the tenancy agreement. You then usually have 7-14 days to return it signed with any amendments. If you don’t return the inventory then you agree to accept the property in the condition described in the inventory.

What’s an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An EPC shows how energy efficient a house is and can help you work out how much your utilities will cost. We put them on our website for you to look at but if you can’t find one let us know.

What will I need to bring?

As with living on campus, you'll need to bring the essentials with you. While your off campus student accommodation will be fully furnished, you'll need to bring things like bedding, kitchen equipment and towels. It's unlikely that the property will include crockery and cutlery, so make sure you have something to eat with, too!

Some accommodation will be supplied with a kettle and microwave. Many have hoovers. If you're not sure, ask someone form Purple Frog to confirm what will be included.

We partner with UniKitOut to offer tenants 10% off student bedding packs, as well as everything you need for the kitchen and bathroom. This will be sent directly to your new student home, so moving in is easy!

Why Purple Frog?

Co-founders, Patrick and Greg, tell the story about how they came up with the name Purple Frog in the About Us section of the site.

Whether you want to talk about rent, property or landlords, we tell it as it is. No jargon, no fuss, no stress – easy!

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